LiVigni: State of Learning is in Flux

“I would describe the current “State of Learning” as in flux. While many may say it is advancing toward the future, I don’t disagree but I see us not sure of where we are going right now.”

Joe LiVigni is the learning and development manager for UGN, Inc.  Additionally, LiVigni has joined the speaking faculty for HR Exchange Live:  Corporate Learning.  Produced by the HR Exchange Network, this is the second year for the premiere online event focused on the topic of learning.  As we get closer to the event, which is scheduled for September 17-18, 2019, HR Exchange Network editor Mason Stevenson will be interviewing the speakers and sharing with you their thoughts on corporate learning, the technology involved and what the future of learning looks like.


Mason Stevenson

If you were giving a “State of Learning” address to a room full of learning leaders, how would you describe the current landscape?

Joe LiVigni

I would describe the current “State of Learning” as in flux. While many may say it is advancing toward the future, I don’t disagree but I see us not sure of where we are going right now. Let me explain what I mean. First of all, there is quite a trend to debunk or myth-bust all we know about learning. While I am a big fan of questioning and being curious to try new things or new ways, I see this concept of debunking being dangerous. We know some things work, whether they are backed by a study or not, we have to rely on what we know and experiment with what we think will work.

Secondly, technology has put our learning methods into a state of change. The problem is change is happening so fast that some of us are using technology just to use it.  We need to question is this giving us a better outcome; a better benefit. Additionally, the technology itself is changing so fast that adopting something new may not be the right answer at this time. We need to be patient and diligent. Along with technology is the learning analytics or data available to us. What do we do with it, how do we use it, and where do we get the data we really need?

Finally, the concept of time for training is changing. We are trying to figure out how to make learning more accessible, more on demand. We must remember that some learning isn’t meant for on demand. Think of changing a behavior versus learning a process. A process can be learned on demand, but how do you change a behavior on demand? I haven’t seen that answer yet.

While I may sound concerned, I am not. I believe this state of flux represents an opportunity. I just recommend approaching the opportunity with caution.

Mason Stevenson

Number 1 challenge facing learning leaders right now?  What’s the solution(s)?

Joe LiVigni

Return on Investment is the biggest challenge. We have made huge strides in “getting a seat at the table”. That seat comes with responsibility, the responsibility that many other functions in our organizations have already been under. The responsibility is to show what we bring to the business.

What is the solution? Make the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Strategy Officer your best friends. I am not joking about this. Using these two leaders or functional areas properly can lead you to the future and guide you there by showing your return.

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I also suggest designing with behavior changes and business outcomes in mind. Work with your stakeholders to tell you how a behavior change will impact the business.

Mason Stevenson

Number 1 strategy all learning leaders must apply?  Why?

Joe LiVigni

Act like a consultant. Consultants know how to ask the right questions in the right way at the right time. They ask why do you want to do this training? They ask questions like a reporter; to gather facts. We learned this in grade school:  Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. And they are curious about why again and again. Think of using the 5 why technique. Master consultants reframe data; they tell a story when pitching their ideas. Consultants are strategic.  They think about the long term, not the short-term immediate gains.

Mason Stevenson

From your perspective, what are the top 3 learning technologies?

Joe LiVigni

I may be a little vague on this answer as I believe technology is still changing so rapidly and we aren’t sure how to use it yet.

1-Anything that provides you with learning analytics or data. That information can help you make better decisions.

2-Anything that makes learning more accessible, but still helps learning outcomes be achieved and application of learning to happen

3-VR/AR may be a true game changer, but it is still in its infancy in our industry. It is expensive and we haven’t found out how to use it just yet.

Mason Stevenson

From your perspective, what does the future of learning look like for companies/organizations?

Joe LiVigni

I believe the future of learning will be a very hybrid space. At least I hope it ends up this way. Why:  because not all learning can be on demand, eLearning courses or online. Instead we need to realize that some learning subjects may require certain types of delivery.

Mason Stevenson

How should learning leaders transform now to meet the needs of the future of learning and the future workforce it will support?

Joe LiVigni

I would suggest to stay in the loop on what is going on. Follow thought leaders on social media, follow those with polar opposite thoughts so you can see all perspectives. I highly recommend talking to vendors. Schedule a new vendor call once per month to see what is new out there and ask them for case studies on how they use their offerings. Learn how to make learning relevant to your learners and engaging at the same time. Relevant learning will always be more impactful than the glam and glitz of the next big thing. 

Mason Stevenson

Number 1 book every learning professional should read?

Joe LiVigni

Wow, only one? I can’t do it. I can narrow it down to a few.

-Start with Why and Find your Why both by Simon Sineck. This concept of starting with why can be used on so many levels. I firmly believe every organization should know their why. Every function within a business should know their why. Each individual within those functions should know their why.

-The Adult Learner by Knowles. So many of us follow a pedagogy mindset or methodology, but yet most of us are leading learning functions geared toward adults. It is a game changer to understand what adults seek in learning.

I think every learning leader should read one book about being a consultant. You choose the title. Elaine Beich has a couple, anything that discusses Boston Consulting group, or McKinsey. Thinking like a consultant puts you in a different mindset.

The next book I will be reading is already on order but doesn’t come out until October, The infinite Game by Simon Sineck. From what I understand this book looks at the organization as a whole and how it functions for the good of the stakeholder for quarterly and yearly results. The infinite game concept is that how can we innovate even if it eats into profits to assure our organizations are here for the long hall. I can’t wait to read it.

Mason Stevenson

Number 1 HR or learning thought leader every learning professional should follow?

Joe LiVigni

My quick answer is to follow Simon Sineck, while he may not be all about learning and HR, he is about a way of thinking that can be applied to our industry on so many levels.

HR Exchange Live:  Corporate Learning

HR Exchange Live:  Corporate Learning is scheduled for September 17-18, 2019.  In addition to LiVigni, confirmed speakers include Corey Rewis, head of learning for consumer, small business and global wealth management for Bank of America and Casper Moerck, head of learning technology and digitization for Americas at Siemens.

For a look at the key themes for the event, the agenda and to register for free, click here.


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